$5 Indian Gold
The Indian Half Eagle was first released in 1908 along with a Quarter Eagle denomination as well. What makes these coins very unique in American Numismatics is how the fields of the coin are raised higher than the rest of the coin’s design. This decision was not well received way back when they came out and even today they are beloved but most collectors find grading them a near impossibility. Aside from a couple of rare dates this a fantastic series to collect as a full set is attainable for most advanced enthusiasts. Look for lower end Mint State examples for type sets as mostly all Indian Half Eagles can be considered condition rarities in gem grades. One of the more exciting issues is the 1909-O Half Eagle which is a very rare key date and draws excitement from around the entire numismatic industry. Following the 1909 production that mint was then closed down forever. That leaves the 1929 Half Eagle which is simply just a full on rarity with just maybe a few hundred surviving today making ownership of this final year of issue a prestigious honor. The cause of this tiny survival population was melting as this was right around the time all American gold coinage was being pulled from circulation. This unique design came around out of boredom since gold coinage prior to this change had looked basically the same for about six decades. This series designed by Bela Lyon Pratt held strong at multiple mints from 1908 through 1916 until it was laid to rest until one last issue in 1929. No American coin is more difficult to grade since the devices can be pristine but if there is wear on in the fields the value and grade drops quickly. It does create a fine opportunity though for those who develop a keen eye for these coins as they automatically catapult themselves to the forefront of this numismatic sector. More on the unique design is how this coin was the first depiction of American Indians to appear as they actually looked. The even more famous and collectible Indian Head Cents just displayed lady liberty dressed as a native woman. Just as much as any coin especially gold ones these coins are heavily counterfeited and altered in which you must be very careful buying them raw. Lookout for added mintmarks and pay close attention on the Indian’s neck between the hair and feathers. Any odd depressions or markings in this area is a tell-tale sign.
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